“In 1869, a group of Methodist Episcopal women had met in old Tremont Church in Boston to organize a foreign missionary society with the avowed purpose of carrying Christian principles and faith to foreign lands. The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society became one of most powerful women’s institutions of the late nineteenth century, becoming the largest independent women’s foreign missionary society in the United States.
“In 1874, Dora E. Schoonmaker was sent to Japan as the WFMS-MEC first began its mission work in Japan and, in the same year, founded the Girls’ Elementary School which was to become one of the three original schools that would later form the coeducational Aoyama Gakuin.
“Elizabeth Russell, in 1879, founded the first progressive school for girls and women in Japan (Kwassui Jo Gakko, in Nagasaki), and her school became a model for other mission schools in the country. Kwassui rose to prominence as it opened industrial departments to train women to enter developing industries, offered subjects not usually offered in other schools for girls and women (such as advanced math and science), and added increasingly higher levels of post-primary education, establishing one of the first college-level programs for women in the country.”
“The Nagasaki school [Kwassui Jo Gakko] was organized in December 1879 and has far outgrown the building that was generously given by the Society in 1882. The present buildings were only intended for one hundred students whereas the school closed last June with an enrollment of one hundred and seventy-six.
“… The object of establishing a college for women is, first, to prepare Japanese helpers of every grade in the work; and second, to afford to girls and women the advantages of a first-class Christian school on their own soil, whether they wish to become teachers or not. So we ask for this additional building at Nagasaki because of insufficiency of room for present demands.
“… The first gift that came for this school was the contents of a little mitebox – just four little gold dollars. At each birthday, a dollar was dropped in baby’s mitebox by loving hands; but before the fifth birthday came round, the little one had gone to the home beyond, and the sorrowing mother, with prayers, turned over the treasure to this college fund.
“A small beginning, but we remembered that Kwassuie Jo Gakko eleven years ago numbered one pupil, and we have learned to bless the day of small beginnings ”
– “The Nagasaki Women’s College”, The Heathen Woman’s Friend, Vol. XXII, by Elizabeth Russell, 1890